Just a handful of years ago, if an owner stopped by to surrender a cat, the staff at the SPCA Serving Erie County would find a way to accommodate them.
But a tragedy left the New York shelter exploring a new way of thinking.
“It was in August of 2009, and we were taking in every cat that we could fit,” recalls executive director Barbara Carr. “We [even] had 75 cats in our multipurpose room, a 40-by-40-foot room intended for overflow.”
After the highly contagious feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) swept through, 39 of those cats died.
Everyone who works in shelters or rescues knows pets who linger without snagging an adopter: the older Shih Tzu who needs medication; the shy mutt, one among many; the umpteenth black kitty who's overlooked in favor of flashier felines. They need extra help finding homes, and what's required is some good PR and a little creativity.